Chemistry

DNA as a Chiral Catalyst

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Science  20 May 2005:
Vol. 308, Issue 5725, pp. 1089
DOI: 10.1126/science.308.5725.1089b

Chemists have long explored the use of biocatalysts such as proteins and RNA in their syntheses; the handedness of these molecules is particularly useful for the selective synthesis of individual enantiomers (the two mirror-image forms of chiral molecules).

Roelfes and Feringa show that inter-calation of a suitable catalyst into DNA enables enantioselective synthesis. Because the catalyst itself is nonchiral, the chirality of the DNA is responsible for the chiral selectivity. Through judicious choice of catalyst, the authors can even prepare both enantiomers of the product. The catalyst is noncovalently bound to the DNA, allowing the system to be optimized and adapted rapidly for new reactions. Furthermore, the product can be separated easily from the reaction mixture. — JFU

Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 10.1002/ange.200500298 (2005).

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